A Senior Special Assistant to Governor Rochas Okorocha, Mr. Okechukwu Okorocha, has been arrested by the Imo State Police Command for illegally being in possession of arms.
Briefing journalists at the State Police Command Headquarters in Owerri on Friday, the Police Public Relations Officer, Andrew Enwerem, said the aide was arrested after operatives of the State Criminal Investigation Department, who were acting on a tip-off, conducted a thorough search of Mr. Okorocha residence on Friday, where three pump action automatic rifles with 24 live cartridges and a Kenwood walkie-talkie, were recovered.
Enwerem, an Assistant Superintendent of Police, said the command had received credible information that some top government functionaries were stockpiling arms with the intention to disrupt the general elections in Imo State.
The police spokesman noted that Okorocha had acted contrary to an instruction from the State Police Command to all residents, particularly members of the State Vigilante Service, to surrender all the arms and other dangerous weapons in their possession before the general elections.
“We have been announcing that the vigilance group will not be part of the security beef up at the polling centres during the elections. As a result, we have been warning them to return the prohibited firearms in their possession to the Divisional Police Officers nearest to them”, Enwerem said.
Speaking to journalists, the governor’s aide explained that before his arrest, he had asked his men to surrender their arms for onward submission to the police, adding that since his directive, he had surrendered quite a number of arms to the police, which is in their inventory.
“I was surprised to see arms recovered in one of my rooms. The recovered arms may be the ones ISN members could not return earlier before I traveled”, he said.
He further explained that before now, his men had a close working relationship with the police, adding that Imo Security Network, the state vigilante service, has contributed in the reduction of kidnapping in the state.